Who says you can’t have mussels have breakfast?


Ice-Breaker: Paper Tearing Activity

Team building Games at the Workplace or with your kids on a rainy day

Objective: Communication and being a good listener. 

Materials: A4 sheet of paper per person.

Time: 5 minutes


1. Tell the participants to pay close attention and perform the requested task.

2. No one can ask questions during this activity.

3. Close your eyes during the activity — no peeking!

4. Fold your sheet of paper in half.

5. Tear off the upper right-hand corner.

6. Fold your paper in half again.

7. Tear off the lower right-hand corner.

8. Fold your paper in half.

9. Tear off the upper left-hand corner.

10. Fold in half a final time.

11. Tear off the lower left-hand corner.

12. Unfold your paper and hold it up.

13. Open your eyes, look at the product and compare it with the other participants’ products.”

Debrief:  Remember, when you communicate with others, they may not receive the message you sent. Individual perceptions vary. Have table groups debrief and discuss. Here are some possible discussion topic(s).

 If you were given the same directions, why were everyone’s products different?

 What does this mean to you as a communicator?

Now you can try writing your own directions for this exercise. Regroup into listening teams. Each team member should read his or her directions aloud as the remaining members do the paper folding and tearing. After all the team members have taken a turn reading directions, determine whose directions were the easiest to follow.

Consider the following:

What did or did not work in your directions?

What did you do to communicate more accurately in the second exercise?

Why are good communications needed everywhere in life?

What kinds of real-life situations could be avoided if clear communication were always possible.

Variations: This can be done with eyes open, but only oral directions.

Industry examples for children
Air traffic control and aviation

Traders and hand signals

Cross-cultural miscomm, time, space, gestures, facial expression.

Active Training by Mel Silberman, 658.3124 SIL (BIZ)

Submitted by: 
Jennifer Arns

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